WORLD VISION BOOSTS CHARITABLE DISTRIBUTION THANKS TO AN INNOVATIVE MOBILE SOLUTION FROM INTERMEC BY HONEYWELL
World Vision, a global Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, their families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice throughout the world, administers aid distributions to approximately 12-15 million people each year through relief assistance.
Providing aid for such a large number of people requires extreme efficiency. For World Vision’s Otto Farkas, Senior Advisor of Innovation & Partnering at World Vision International, it was a simple trip to the airport that led to improving technology operations for World Vision’s global relief efforts.
“During one of my trips, I noticed how airlines organize passengers using mobile technology and barcodes,” said Farkas. “I suddenly had this ‘light bulb’ moment and thought ‘what if we used this same sort of technology for processing our beneficiaries.’”
Farkas’ simple thought led to the start of a project titled “Last Mile Mobile Solutions,” or LMMS.
"Each time we hand out aid to a beneficiary, we needed to keep a record of it," said Farkas. "LMMS is an integration of software that has been specially developed to pair with hardware we use in the field."
Paula Quinlan, LMMS Program Support Officer for World Vision Canada, explains. "Through LMMS, we are now able to scan beneficiary ID cards with the Intermec [by Honeywell] CN50 mobile computers. This creates the verification that they've received their relief supplies," said Quinlan. "From this, we're able to develop a master beneficiary list. This happens in mere seconds, as opposed to the hours or days it would take to go out into the field, collect it manually, and go back to the office to enter the information into our system."
Once entries are completed, the team can go in and create segregated profiles, and pull reports that include comeveryone who has received supplies and exactly what they received, from whom and when, said Quinlan.
"We can now upload all of this information into our system in real time, and can also track all inventory in real time on our roaming server," said Quinlan. World Vision previously used the Intermec by Honeywell CN3 handheld mobile computers, so upgrading to the CN50 was an easy choice.
"The cameras on the CN50s, which take color photographs, were very important to us in terms of the verification of our beneficiaries," said Narhan. "But we also needed the long battery life as well as the ruggedness of the actual devices themselves – the CN50 provided all of this to us in one convenient solution."
A Seamless Solution
As a result of the LMMS and CN50 solution, efficiency has definitely improved.
"With LMMS, there was an immediate 60% improvement in the time it took to verify beneficiaries, over our previously manual processes," said Narhan. "What used to take 2-3 minutes before LMMS, now takes 30 seconds."
Narhan explains that this means one individual can now process aid for 1,000 households in one working day. Before LMMS, processing 1,000 households took more than one full working week.
"That's a tremendous improvement in terms of our ability to run field operations," said Narhan.
Additionally, World Vision's overall business processes have benefited as well.
"As far as the business processes, we've seen at least 50% improvement in time savings as compared to the old manual system, but we've seen time savings increase up to 90% in some cases when technology was further leveraged across multiple projects," said Narhan. "In the past, we've had beneficiaries arrive before sunrise and not leave until after sunset for our distributions, and now many are able to leave within two to three hours."
Moving forward, World Vision International has made the decision to adopt LMMS as a standard operating tool for all of its food programs and many of its cash programs.
"I think technology solutions like LMMS are at the cusp of changing how we actually do humanitarian programming," said Narhan.
Time Savings Efficiency
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